Sabres bench

It doesn’t get any easier: Sabres kick off three-game California trip in San Jose


As if life needed to get any harder for the NHL’s worst team, the Buffalo Sabres kick off a three-game road trip tonight in San Jose, after which they’ll make stops in Los Angeles Thursday and Anaheim Friday.

Combined, those three California teams are 15-3-1 at home. In contrast, the Sabres go West dragging a 2-11-2 overall record with them.

If there’s a bright side, it’s that the Sabres’ only two wins came on the road. But let’s be real, there’s no bright side to what’s happened in Buffalo this season. By almost every measure, it’s been a disaster. There’s the minus-23 goal differential. The league-worst 24.8 shots per game. Really, about the only thing that’s been decent is the goaltending. And thank goodness for that, because the Sabres are allowing 35.5 shots per game, the third most in the NHL.

Buffalo’s latest loss, 6-3 to Anaheim on Saturday, was the Sabres’ fifth by three goals. The loss also dropped their record at the First Niagara Center to 0-8-1.

At least one Sabre is hoping some time away from the hometown booing (not to mention the chanting directed at management) will help.

“Sometimes trips like these can change a season and really mold a team,” said Matt Moulson, per the Buffalo News. “Hopefully that’s the case on this trip and we come away with some W’s and come back home. I know the fans definitely want some wins here.”

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…